Campus round-up - 14 November 2013

November 14, 2013

Source: Rex Features

Take note

A pop-up record shop has been launched to promote work by music students. The NXShop, in South London’s New Cross, sells CDs and vinyl records made by those on the popular music degree course at Goldsmiths, University of London. The shop, which will be open until 23 November, will feature limited-edition releases from NX Records, a record label co-founded by Goldsmiths six months ago to showcase student music. Last month, Goldsmiths alumnus James Blake (pictured above), a graduate of the institution’s BMus in pop music, beat David Bowie and the Arctic Monkeys to win the Mercury Music prize.

The Open University
OU pretty things

Four artists from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England are unveiling artworks inspired by the impact on society of research by The Open University. It is 50 years since Harold Wilson introduced the idea of a “University of the Air”, which later became the OU, and the artworks aim to reflect this idea. They include a series of installations by Northern Irish artist Conan McIvor at Belfast City Hall and at The Open University building in Belfast, and The Brain Trilogy in Scotland, in which 3D images and movies appear to float in mid-air.

Teesside University
It’s an honour

A contestant on the BBC television show Strictly Come Dancing will be among those to receive an honorary degree, it has been announced. Teesside University has decided to honour the actor Mark Benton, who is from Grangetown in Middlesbrough, alongside 11 other “outstanding figures” in ceremonies in November and December. Other honorary graduates will include Stephanie McGovern, a BBC business journalist; Joy Shi, president of the Hong Kong Institute of Technology, a partner institution of Teesside; and Tony Waites, chair of the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Leeds Metropolitan University
Hole story

A professional golfer who later became an academic re-enacted her rise to fame in a short play performed last week. Kitrina Douglas, lecturer in sport at Leeds Metropolitan University, left the women’s tour in 1996, studied sport science and wrote a PhD on the motivation of top female golfers. In Revised Reshaped Reclaimed: One Golfer’s Story, which she also starred in, she told the story of her 17-year-old self, who dropped out of school with the ambition of becoming a professional golfer. It also explores how she was portrayed on television and in the press. Part of the university’s Festival of Social Sciences, the play was part of a larger presentation in which researchers worked with students from Liverpool John Moores University to present their work through theatre.

University of Edinburgh
Bilingual benefits

Learning a second language may delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by up to five years, a study has found. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India reached this conclusion after studying 650 dementia patients to see when they had been diagnosed with the condition. Bilingualism could delay the conditions by constituting a form of natural brain training, the researchers said, teaching speakers to switch between different words, sounds, concepts, grammars and social norms.

University of Leicester
Taster sessions

A UK university has launched a major paid internship programme. The University of Leicester’s career development service scheme will provide every campus-based home or EU student with an opportunity to benefit from an internship during their degree. In total, the programme will create 500 paid internships a year and will enhance employability and give Leicester undergraduates valuable insight into what employers expect from graduates joining their business. Students will have a choice of industries in which to work and internships – up to 12 weeks long – will be on offer locally, regionally and nationally, as well as within the university’s own departments.

Dundee/Trinity College Dublin
Of mice and men

Scientists have found a gene in humans linked to outbreaks of a type of eczema by first finding a similar correlation in mice. The team from the University of Dundee and Trinity College Dublin discovered that a mutation in a particular mouse gene led to spontaneous dermatitis. They then screened large cohorts of patients who suffered from atopic dermatitis for the equivalent human gene and found the same association. The study demonstrates the value of looking for genetic patterns in animals to provide a starting point for investigating human disease, the researchers said.

University of Buckingham
Power steering

A university has launched England’s first Centre for Extractive Energy Studies. The University of Buckingham unit will research subjects such as fracking, issues of good governance, combating corruption and the environmental, legal, fiscal and competition implications of the industry. It will also explore community and labour rights in the global extractive energy sector, including indigenous community participation in the decision-making process of ownership, and the sustainable management of energy resources.

University of East Anglia
We want to pay less, not the same

A more sophisticated understanding of what motivates consumers to choose energy suppliers is needed if the government is to promote competition in the market effectively, according to research. A study by the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia found that although consumers exhibit differing behaviour when deciding whether to switch their energy supplier, all consumers are more likely to switch if they expect higher savings, meaning the government should avoid policies that reduce differences in the prices charged by providers.

University of Surrey
Future comms

Planners have granted permission for an innovation centre focused on next-generation communication networks in Guildford. More than 10 communication technology businesses, including BT, Vodafone and Samsung, have pledged £30 million in funding, expertise and other contributions to help establish the centre at the University of Surrey. The companies will work with academics to develop the technologies needed for a 5G network. The project includes the development of a 5G test bed on campus to offer real-world testing of the technology. Professor Rahim Tafazolli, head of the University of Surrey’s Centre for Communication Systems Research, said that bringing together “leading academics with heavyweight industry partners” will shape the future 5G system.

University of Brighton
To boldly go

A senior lecturer has picked up a global award for his practical application of pharmaceutical sciences. GlaxoSmithKline recognised the pioneering work in affordable sensor technology of Bhavik Patel, from the University of Brighton, and awarded him the 2013 Emerging Scientist award. Dr Patel’s research group developed affordable flexible electrodes that can be used to monitor parts of the body or industrial settings that previously have not been possible to access. Funding for the work came from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Royal Society.

University of Roehampton
In other words

A university is to launch its own poetry centre. Created by Fiona Sampson, the University of Roehampton’s new professor of poetry, the Roehampton Poetry Centre will hold masterclasses with renowned poets, run two new poetry prizes and host reading series. It will also publish POEM magazine, which is edited by Professor Sampson, a T. S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted author. “I am thrilled to be able to see this centre taking shape, giving poetry more chances to flourish and shine in the UK,” she said.

Arts University Bournemouth
Psychedelic works

A university launched a “kaleidoscope” app for the iPhone to coincide with Bonfire Night. The Arts University Bournemouth app is free to download and lets users apply five different kaleidoscope filters to photographs or short videos before uploading the creations to a series of galleries. The university hopes that users can make contact with students and creative collaborators using the app. Simon Pride, head of marketing and communications at the university, said that the app was a “gift to the curious”.

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